Future Travel Agencies in the United Kingdom

Introduction

High street travel agents have played a critical role in the growth of the tourism sector in the United Kingdom. According to Kurubacak and Altinpulluk (2017), tourists and business travellers have been relying on these agents to access hospitality and other relevant services conveniently. The growth of the local and international tourism industry has benefited these agents a lot. However, advancement in the field of technology has led to the emergence of online trade agents. Albarran (2017) explains that it is now possible for a traveller to book for services they need through various travel websites without necessarily having to visit offices of high street travel agents. The working class, especially young adults who have limited time in their tight work schedule, find the online model of travel agency more convenient than the traditional model. They can easily go through different online vendors to find the one that offers the best products at the most competitive cost. The growing popularity of online travel agencies is a serious threat to traditional travel agents (O’Doherty & Einsiedel 2013). This paper focuses on the analysis of travel agents and future development prospects.

The Aim of the Research

Emerging technologies in the field of communication are threatening to eliminate traditional high street travel agents from the tourism industry. According to a report by Barnhart and Peñaloza (2013), and that by Albarran (2017), most travellers from all over the world are opting to use their laptops and smartphone to make online bookings instead of travelling to physical offices. However, the time has come when it is almost impossible to resist change (Nestor & Schutt, 2014). These agencies must find ways of dealing with changing environmental forces if they want to remain relevant in the market. The aim of this dissertation is to critically evaluate perspectives on the future of travel agency and propose development prospects to help them overcome the challenges they face.

The Rationale for the Study

According to Müller, Lundmark, and Lemelin (2013), high street travel agents have played a critical role in promoting tourism in the United Kingdom. These agencies employ so many people, and they ensure that integrity is maintained as a way of winning the trust of their clients (Albarran 2017). However, market forces are changing rapidly because of emerging technologies. Instead of spending time travelling to physical offices, tourists, and business travellers find it easy making their bookings online (Safko 2013). Online bookings enable them to compare prices of different vendors, the quality of service they offer, and the location of facilities they are purchasing. As such, many travellers have shifted from using high street travel agents to using online vendors. The study will evaluate how emerging trends have affected traditional travel agents, and what they can do to remain sustainable in the market.

General Motivation

The motivation of this research is to find ways of helping high street travel agents in the United Kingdom to overcome their current challenges. According to Kurubacak and Altinpulluk (2017), the United Kingdom has experienced a slight decline in the number of tourists from the international community following its decision to leave the European Union. The paper seeks to find ways of helping high street travel agents to find ways of overcoming various challenges in the market. The researcher believes that promoting the growth of this industry will help in stabilising the country’s economy and increase employment opportunities.

The Research Objectives

The following research objectives will make it possible to fulfil the aim of the research as set above:

  1. To critically evaluate the current state of high street travel agents in the United Kingdom.
  2. To identify the strengths and weaknesses of these traditional travel agents in the country.
  3. To assess the primary threats to their existence in the tourism industry.
  4. To develop evidence-based suggestions on future developmental prospects.

Data collected and analysed from primary and secondary sources will help in achieving the above objectives. Secondary sources from books and journals will provide background information. Primary data collected from sampled participants will enable the researcher to understand the current state of affairs on the issue under investigation. Suggestions that will be made at the end of the study will be based upon information gathered from the two sources.

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter focuses on a critical review of the current state of knowledge on the field of tour and travel agency. Lanier (2015) argues that conducting a literature review makes it possible to understand what other scholars have found out in a given field. The chapter commences by defining traditional travel agency and its relevance in the tourism industry. It then goes on to consider the emergence of an online travel agency and how it has affected the industry. Finally, conclusions are drawn on how to address challenges that traditional travel agencies face in this industry.

Morpeth and Hongliang (2015) define the traditional travel agency as one that uses the brick-and-mortar business model, as opposed to online services. It played a critical role in the tour and travel industry in the past (Penichet, Peñalver & Gallud 2013). The high street travel agents have dominated the tourism industry for decades. They emerged to help travellers avoid dealing with numerous entities on their safari. According to Ballantyne and Packer (2013), these agents became a one-stop-shop for many tourists and business travellers. They booked hotels, car services, parks, and other social amenities that travellers wanted to visit. Using the traditional brick-and-mortar business model, customers had to make physical visits to their offices to make bookings (Pappas & Bregoli 2016). Their regular customers could just make calls to physical offices before making payment either through the Western Union or when they finally visit the agency’s offices. Business seemed great at that time until the emergence of online bookings in the local market (Papathanassis, Breitner & Groot 2014).

The new business model, made possible by advancement in the field of information technology, meant that customers could easily book for tour and travel services in the comfort of their offices. Many of the traditional companies switched to the new model of business, while others decided to embrace a hybrid model (Ma, Jain & Anderson 2014). Some opted to stick to their traditional model. It is important to analyse the current state of high street travel agents, compare it with online travel agents, before defining future development prospects (Westerman, Bonnet & McAfee 2014). In this section of the literature review, it is important to look at what other scholars have found out about the micro and macro environments of traditional travel agents.

Analysis of the External Environment

When analysing the external environment, PESTEL is a critical tool that should be used (Lanier 2015). Traditional travel agents need to redefine their operations to manage the stiff competition in the market posed by online tour agents. After analysing the firm using the first two models above, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive PESTEL analysis to understand the external environment and how it might affect these agencies as they try to transform their operations based on emerging needs. The political environment in the United Kingdom is stable enough to promote the development of tourism industry. According to Huang, Alem, and Livingston (2013), the United Kingdom has enjoyed a long period of political stability over the last several decades. The unique peace and tranquillity in the political arena and the enhanced security have made it possible for firms to run their operations with ease. They know that they will always enjoy operating in an environment where law and order are maintained.

According to Crawford (2015), the tourism industry thrives in an environment where there are peace and stability. They often avoid places where their lives may be at risk when on holiday. The United Kingdom is one of the leading regional tourists’ destinations because of political stability. Brennen (2013) believes that the political class has also avoided engaging in activities that may have direct negative consequences on the business community. The political environment in other countries around the world, especially in the Middle East, is unstable and it may affect the ability of travel agents to operate there successfully (Albarran 2017). The strained political environment in Europe following the Brexit vote may also be a cause of concern (Ray 2015). The political leaders are yet to come up with a formula that will be used by the business community.

The economic environment is another critical factor that must be analysed when looking at ways of promoting the success of a given industry. The economy of a country defines how well firms can perform (Lanier 2015). The tourism industry is one of the most sensitive sectors to economic fluctuations. During the economic recession, many people try to prioritise their expenses. They focus on expenses that are basic because of the reduced disposable income. They avoid what they consider luxury to accommodate the changing economic status. Unfortunately, tour and travel are some of the areas they classify in such categories and are often avoided (Albarran 2017). The 2008 global economic recession had a profound impact on the tour and travel industry in the country (Chishti & Barberis 2016). The number of tourists from North America and various other parts of the world reduced significantly. Domestic tourism was at its lowest during the same period. However, the country was able to recover from the shock. The recent Brexit vote had an impact on the economy of the country, especially the uncertainty about the future (Kurubacak & Altinpulluk 2017). At the moment, the economy is performing well, offering traditional travel agents a perfect opportunity to redefine their operations in the local market.

The social environment is another important factor that must be considered in this analysis. Craig (2013) says that socio-cultural factors have a significant impact on decisions that people make when they want to tour a given region. In modern society, people are keen on visiting places where their social practices will not make them victims of racial intolerance or any other form of victimisation (Alsos, Eide & Madsen 2014). In some parts of the world such as the Middle East and North Africa, people are yet to embrace homosexuality. It is not easy for a gay couple to travel to these regions and show their romance publicly because they will be subjected to various forms of victimisation. As such, they tend to avoid such destination (Baldwin 2016). Socio-cultural restrictions that define how people should dress or who they should interact with is not common in this country as long as they are decent and ethical in their actions. These are factors that will attract tourists from all over the world. Racism, especially the problem of discrimination against people of colour and Muslims is an issue of concern in the country, as Lanier (2015) observes. However, Blythe (2013) observes that cases of racial slurs and such related actions that tend to promote a misleading belief that one race is superior to others have been witnessed in the country. The changing income of customers redefines their expectations when purchasing services from travel agents. Baldwin (2016) explains that the increased financial capacity of customers makes them more demanding.

Technology is one of the main drivers of change that has transformed the tourism industry both locally and internationally. According to Christensen (2016), technological advancement has reduced the world into a global village, especially because of the improved transport and communication systems. It is now possible for a tourist or business traveller to move from the United States to the United Kingdom within hours using air transport, thanks to the technological enhancement. Improved communication has been crucial in the tourism sector. In the past, tourists and business travellers had to visit brick-and-mortar offices of travel agencies to book their tickets. The process was physically demanding and time-consuming (Choi, Dailey-Hebert & Estes 2016). However, that has changed over the years, thanks to emerging technologies.

Travellers can now choose whether they want to visit brick-and-mortar offices or book for their tickets while at home or in their offices. They only need to visit various websites of companies offering services, compare prices and services offered, and make their choice based on needs they have and their budget (Coskuner & Craig 2013). This technological advancement has been the greatest undoing to traditional travel agents. It led to the emergence of online travel agencies, which have become more popular than traditional agencies. Technological advancements have also helped improve service delivery in the tourism sector. It has also promoted security in the country and at hotels where visitors spend their time while on tour. The future of this industry will be defined by the increasing changes brought about by emerging technologies.

Ecological factors have also become critical areas of analysis when trying to define the path that the industry should take to achieve the desired level of success (Lanier 2015). The global society is getting interested in initiatives that seek to promote environmental conservation. Global warming is now a reality and a major concern not only in Europe and North America but also at a global level (Choy 2014). Players in various industries are trying to come up with creative ways of protecting the environment in their normal operations. Travel agencies in the United Kingdom may also find ways of reducing their carbon footprint in their activities. Bryan (2014) explains that the carbon footprint left by international tourists travelling from one part of the world to the other is a major concern. Cruise ships have also been blamed for massive pollution of the sea by plastic bottles (Baldwin 2016). These concerns should be addressed effectively.

Finally, it is important to look at the legal environment in the United Kingdom and determine its impact on traditional travel agencies. According to Bernard (2013), for a firm to achieve success in the market, it is necessary for it to operate in an environment that is governed by the rule of law. They need to have a legal system that defines their relationship with other external stakeholders. The United Kingdom has a clear legal system that defines the business environment and regulations that they have to follow (Baldwin 2016). The legal environment in this country will enable traditional travel agents to redefine their operations to remain relevant in the market. The law allows new market entrants into this economy. It means that traditional travel agencies should not just be concerned with local online competitors. Foreign companies may find their way into the local market, increasing market competitiveness. It is also necessary to understand the legal environment in foreign nations to avoid legal cases (Lanier 2015). When coming up with future development prospects, these factors must be taken into consideration.

Analysis of the Industry

When analysing an industry, Bryan (2014) suggests that it is necessary to use Porter’s Five Forces Model. It will help in understanding the current state of traditional travel agencies in the United Kingdom and what they need to do to secure their future in the current competitive business environment. They include a threat of new entrants, a threat of substitute products, and the rivalry among existing competitors, the bargaining power of buyers, and the bargaining power of suppliers (Bryan 2014). Analysing each of these factors is necessary. Figure 1 below shows the model.

Porters five forces.
Figure 1: Porters five forces (Aukstakalnis 2015, p. 56).

The rivalry among the existing competitors is one of the factors that a firm must consider when developing a marketing strategy. Gbadamosi (2016) argues that in a market that is highly competitive, it is necessary for a firm to come up with strategies that will enable it to overcome the stiff competition. Every action that a firm takes must be critically evaluated to determine how competitors will react and the consequences of such reactions (Hussein &Zolait 2013). On the other hand, when the competition is less stiff, it is possible for a firm to have strategies that will enable it to benefit maximally in the market without having to worry about actions of competitors, as long as customers are satisfied (Azevedo 2013). The travel agents in the United Kingdom face a highly competitive business environment. The industry has attracted both local and international companies keen on tapping into the available market opportunities. It means that the local firms must be ready to deal with such high levels of competition in the market to achieve the desired level of success.

The threat of new entrants is one of the issues that traditional travel agencies in the United Kingdom have to deal with in the market (Tate 2015). The fact that online travel agencies can make an easy entry into the local market is a factor that local traditional travel agents must consider when defining their business strategy. The entry of travel agencies using the traditional model or operation or a hybrid of both is not complicated (Weiss, Keshner & Levin 2014). The United Kingdom’s legal system allows foreign companies to operate in the local market as long as they follow the set conditions in the respective industry. If chances are high that new firms can enter the local market, it is a sign that the current level of competition can be stiffer than they currently are (Jeong, Yen & Park 2014). It means that it would be appropriate for these firms to find ways of managing competition that is stiffer than current standards. As Kardaras (2016) explains, it means that they have to lower their production costs, charge competitive prices, and improve the quality of their products to manage such high levels of competition.

The threat of substitute products in this industry may vary depending on the specific product that a firm offers. Katsoni and Stratigea (2016) explain that when customers have substitutes from which they can choose, they tend to be more demanding. They know that they have a wide variety of options to make whenever they want to purchase a given product. It is true that customers can opt to book for hotel services directly through the website of their trusted hotels or by physically visiting their facilities (Zoukis 2014). However, that option is not very popular among tourists who may need more than hospitality services. Travel agencies help them in booking the right hotel, making arrangements for their tour, and any other services they may need while in that particular country (Szutowski 2016). It means that they can pay for these services once instead of having to make payments in bits. Albarran (2017) warns that the growth in independent travellers may be a cause of concern. Instead of using these agencies, they can make direct bookings at hotels and travel companies. Such trends are common among travellers who have visited a specific place several times and are keen on cutting the cost of their safari.

The bargaining power of buyers in this industry is relatively strong. Whether one is a tourist or business traveller, there are always various options they can make in the market. For a business traveller, it is easy to select a specific hotel and book a room to stay during the period of conducting the business. Tourists have numerous options to choose from among the many travel agencies in the country. According to French and Gordon (2015), in cases where customers have numerous options, they tend to be very demanding because they have the power to do so. They will demand high-quality products at the lowest price possible. Any mistake that the agency commits can easily make them swift loyalty to a different firm (Lanier 2015). It means that these customers must be served with the utmost care. Their interests should always be met in the best way possible. Given that they are likely to revisit the firm for future purchases, it is necessary to take care of their post-purchase dissonance. The goal is to ensure that they have memorable experiences that will convince them to make similar purchases in future.

Bryan (2014) explains that the bargaining power of suppliers varies depending on which product they need. These agents often need cars to facilitate the movement of their clients from one place to another. The emergence of Uber services makes it easy for them to choose from a wide variety of options, which reduces the bargaining power of such suppliers (Albarran 2017). It means that other than traditional taxi services available at airports, near major hotels, and other strategic places, these agencies can also use mobile applications to identify the appropriate care services that suit their clients. For online travel agents, it is easy to have promotional products on the online platform from various vendors (Stanković 2016). When developing marketing strategies for a firm in this industry, the power of the supplier may not be a major issue to worry about. The ease with which the needed products and services are available means that the management of these firms has a wide range of options from which to choose.

Traditional Travel Agent’s Micro Environment

Traditional travel agencies have to compete against online agencies in the market (Rasmussen 2014). Each of the two models of travel market has strengths and weaknesses worth discussing at this stage of the paper. There are also many opportunities and threats that must be understood when developing a marketing strategy (Albarran, 2017). It is necessary to conduct a SWOT analysis to understand these factors and how they should be handled effectively.

When analyzing the microenvironment, it is necessary to look at the strengths of this model. Traditional travel agencies that use the brick-and-mortar business model enjoy trust among clients because of the ability to transact in a physical office (Albarran 2017). Online trading is rapidly gaining popularity, especially among young adults. However, O’Doherty and Einsiedel (2013) explain that the elderly still trust the brick-and-mortar model of business that they have used for years. They want to visit high street travel agents and explain their needs to ensure that they get the best. They are uncomfortable getting committed to online traders because they believe their issues cannot be addressed effectively in case they arise (Stanković 2016).

Unlike online firms with no clearly defined physical address, these firms have offices that customers can visit in case they have an issue that needs to be addressed (Mihelj, Novak & Begus 2013). The presence of a physical location makes it easy to promote sales and the company’s brand. This is specifically the case when the office is strategically located in places that are easily accessible to potential customers. According to Matias, Nijkamp, and Romão (2016), brick-and-mortar travel agencies located on the street near international airport find it easy to reach out to potential customers because of their strategic location. International tourists are likely to use services of such companies located near the port of entry because of the minimal strain involved (Albarran 2017). Online firms fully rely on online campaigns to attract customers. However, the strategic physical location of high street travel agents means that sometimes clients can visit their offices even when a promotional message did not reach them.

It is important to appreciate that high street travel agency model of business has various weaknesses that have made it less desirable in the current competitive business environment (Ravens 2014). One of the main weaknesses of this model is that it is financially demanding. O’Doherty and Einsiedel (2013) explain that the model requires a firm to have an office space. Within the office, there will be employees assigned various roles. These are expenses that are easily avoidable when the online business model is employed, especially when one uses a fully automated system and operates the business from home (Lanier 2015). Clients who visit the online store will be directed to hotels based on their needs. Such an online company will need a few employees to receive calls and to ensure that the website is functioning as expected. The cost of renting an office space and paying employees increases the overall cost of operation (Bainbridge 2013). The scope of operation for this model of business is limited. It is not easy for a firm operating using this business model to serve international customers unless it employs some elements of remote communication. It inconveniences customers who have to visit these offices to book for tickets (Westwood et al. 2013). These are some of the reasons that have made traditional travel agencies less popular in the United Kingdom and around the world.

The high street travel agents have opportunities that they can take advantage of to help them overcome the challenges they are facing in the market. As Moran (2015) observes, one of the opportunities that these companies should take advantage of is the emergence of online operation. The fact that the brick-and-mortar companies are keen on maintaining their model of business does not stop them from taking advantage of the huge opportunities in the online market. They can have a blend of the two models (Pimple 2013). These firms can use the traditional approach of reaching out to and handling customers while at the same time having a website where customers can visit and make online bookings.

Lloyd (2014) says that integrating both models is highly effective. Online customers prefer companies that have both models because they are assured there is a physical office where they can visit whenever there is a need. The growing popularity of tour and travel products in the United Kingdom also creates an opportunity for the company to expand its market share (Albarran 2017). Many people are now keen on travelling the world because of the improving economy. It means that the number of customers seeking these services is increasing. Technology is widening products that these companies can offer. It has also made it easy to communicate with customers irrespective of their physical location (Sharma & Shilpa 2013). The language barrier is also getting eliminated by emerging technologies that translate one language to the other simple.

When analysing the microenvironment, it is necessary to look at threats that must be dealt with by these companies for them to achieve sustainable operations. Competition is the greatest threat that traditional travel agencies have to face. The emergence of online travel companies has dealt a devastating blow to these companies. According to Sheldon and Daniele (2017), the market share for the high street travel agencies fell from 57% in 2006 to 19% in 2016. Within the same period, the market share for online travel agencies rose from 35% to 79% (Baldwin 2016). It means that more people now prefer going online as opposed to using the services of brick-and-mortar companies when planning to travel.

The trend is expected to continue, and as Lanier (2015) notes, soon those companies that operate pure brick-and-mortar business model in the tourism industry may find themselves unable to compete with rivals operating in the online market. This threat is real and has devastating consequences. Another threat in this industry is the ease with which foreign firms can enter the market (Marchant 2016). The law does not forbid foreign companies from making a successful entry into the local market. Knight (2013) explains that a possible terror attack is another major threat, but it affects both online and high-street travel agents. When customers feel their security is threatened, they tend to avoid travelling, which affects the normal operation of these companies.

Online Travel Agencies’ Micro Environment

The online travel agencies also face unique forces in the market because of their model of operation. It is necessary to start by looking at the strength of this model based on what other scholars have found out. One of their main strength is the business model that significantly reduces their cost of operation (Lefebvre 2013). Given that they operate in an online platform, they do not have to rent office space inexpensive locations to reach out to their desired customers. Instead, they can have a remote office that is relatively cheap. Most of such companies have automated systems that require limited labour (Xu, Yao & Lu 2014). Once a customer visits the website, he or she can view products available for sale and compare prices. They are then required to make online payments. Their receipts are then sent to them online with specific digits that they will use for identification (Caillaud, Rose& Goepp 2016).

The reduced cost makes it easy for them to lower their prices. This model of business is very popular among middle working-class customers. These individuals have limited time because they have to be at work for the better part of the day (Baldwin 2016). The model makes it possible for these customers to spend a few minutes visiting websites of relevant companies and making their purchases without having to leave their offices (Peris-Ortiz & Álvarez-García 2015). The scope of the market for these companies is unlimited. They can serve customers within Europe, North America, Asia, or Africa as long as they can visit the website of the company.

The business model has some weaknesses which may have a negative impact on its growth. Trust is one of the main issues that these companies have to deal with in their normal operations (Bryman & Bell 2015). It is normal for problems or misunderstandings to arise during the process of engaging customers. It may be a case of a wrong choice made by the customer mistakenly or a technical problem. In some cases customers may feel what was promised is not what was delivered. Customers prefer having an avenue through which such issues can be addressed. The fact that some of these online agencies do not even have an office makes it difficult to address such issues (Simakova 2013). Some customers, especially the elderly who were used to the traditional model, cannot be convinced easily to purchase these online products unless they can be assured of means through which their grievances can be addressed (Zeiser 2015). Marketing of a purely online business can also be challenging, especially when trying to convince customers that their issues will be addressed effectively when they arise. According to Bryan (2014), this model also faces a serious threat of a possible breach of its database. Cybercriminals can steal or manipulate clients’ data, which may in turn have serious negative impact on the affected firm. Baldwin (2016) also states that this model can only work in areas with good network coverage.

The market presents an opportunity that these companies can take advantage of if they redefine their operations. The growing local and international tourism industry in the United Kingdom offers these firms an opportunity to expand their business operations. The fact that these companies operate in the online market means that they can consider widening their marketing scope beyond national borders. They can start serving regional markets. France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are some of the attractive markets that these companies can consider exploring (Canniford & Shankar 2013). It is also important to note that these companies can consider having physical offices where customers can visit whenever they feel necessary. Such strategy will make it easy for these agencies to attract the aging population who has no trust in the online model of business (Weeden 2016). Emerging technologies are making it possible for these companies to serve their customers better.

According to Katina (2013), the tourism industry has various threats that online tour agencies have to address to ensure that they can operate effectively. The biggest threat is competition. Although online agencies have outsmarted traditional travel agencies, they face a serious threat from similar firms from other countries. Just as it is easy for them to enter foreign markets, it is simple for foreign agencies to find their way into the local market (Bryan 2014). Cybercrime is another major problem that is unique to this model of business. Rogue experts in the field of information technology are now keen on stealing from online companies. They have the capacity of accessing a company’s website and directing customers to make payments in wrong accounts. Such eventualities may have serious consequences on the firm if it has to compensate its clients for lost revenues (Baldwin 2016). It can also affect the reputation of the firm if customers are not properly compensated. These cybercriminals can also access the website of a company and provide misleading information to customers out of malice. Carvalho (2015) strongly suggests that it is important to have a firewall that can protect a company’s data from unauthorised third parties.

Motivation

The specific motivation is to find ways of addressing challenges that traditional travel agents face in the modern market where online bookings have become very popular. Development prospects of high street travel agents lie in their ability to understand changes in the market and adjust their operations accordingly (Dahl et al. 2013). It is worrying that these firms are yet to adjust their mode of operations even with the knowledge that the industry is shifting (Baldwin 2016). It is expected that this study will offer the needed advice to help them avoid the possible elimination from the industry.

Comparison of Motivational Factors

It is now clear that the overall goal of this dissertation is to find ways which can help promote the growth of the country’s tourism industry (Egger, Gula & Walcher 2016). While the general motivation focuses on the overall growth of the industry, the specific motivational factors focus on finding ways of helping high street travel agents transform their business model in line with the changing market forces (Goulding, Shankar & Canniford 2013). The paper will find ways of ensuring that they remain operational despite the stiff market competition.

Research Gap

Findings made from the review of literature identify critical literature gap that needs to be addressed in this study. The increasing relevance of online business model is evident to players in this industry. It is not clear why some firms are yet to embrace this model of business despite these obvious benefits. The study will investigate why it is taking time for some of the traditional travel agents to transform their business models in line with the changing environmental forces. There is a general assumption that all firms using brick-and-mortar business model are yet to embrace the online approach to doing business. However, that is not true. Many of them have maintained their traditional model of business while at the same time they have websites that they use to target online customers.

Summary

Traditional travel agents played an important role in promoting tourism in the United Kingdom. Tourists from foreign countries relied on them to book for hotels, tour vans, and many other amenities that they needed. However, emerging technologies in the field of information and communication have had devastating impact on these high street travel agents. It is now possible for tourists and business travellers to book for hotels and other services they need online. Unlike in the past when they had to visit physical offices of travel agents, tourists and business travellers only need to visit the relevant website to make their bookings. It is a more convenient way of purchasing services they need than using the traditional brick-and-mortar model. This is specifically so for working class travellers who have limited time to plan for such travels. The literature review shows over 75% of the current travellers make their bookings online. High street travel agents are increasingly becoming irrelevant in the field of tourism and those that fail to transform their operations may be forced out of the industry. In this paper, it is necessary to investigate changing market trends and strategies that traditional travel agents can employ to ensure that they remain relevant in the industry.

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